December 7, 2021

My good buddy.


I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work.  So I do it three or four times a day.

-Gene Perret


When I decided to retire, I closed the chapter on work and moved on.  I have never been tempted to go back to work, even though I really could have.  When Covid hit, I was prepared to work or volunteer, but things never got so bad that I felt I was needed.  I guess not everyone is built to make a decision, walk away from a thing and never wonder if it would be better if their course didn’t yaw in a very different direction, but that’s what happened to me.  The decision was made and I never gave it another thought.

I never even have dreams about the Emergency Room.  I’m sure I suffer a little from PTSD – the trauma and stress was certainly there, but it feels like it was all in a different life, one that is no longer relevant to what’s happening now.  It seems to be more like a story I read once, than a life that I actually lived — interesting, but unreal somehow.  My current reality is all about sharing a life with Waldo, that includes all the mundane daily routines like eating, going to the bathroom and walking, and somehow assimilating everything.  There are still new adventures that I get involved in, like walking with Phyllis and Christine, rafting down the Snake River and a few other things, but mostly I’m drawn to connecting the dots that are the events that happened to me in my life.  Not so much figuring out the meaning of life as just trying to define the story.  And in my writing, setting the gist, if not the details, down on the page.  I can’t think of a better way of spending retirement.

We’re born into this life, a bunch of stuff happens, and then we die.  Maybe our lives don’t, in themselves, have any meaning, but that doesn’t mean that what happened was meaningless.  Maybe the meaning of life is the meaning we put to the life we live.  We get to choose the events in our lives that are significant enough to remember.  We get to draw the lines that connect it all together into some kind of coherent whole.  We choose the plot of what happened, the arc of the story and its denouement. These choices we make tell the story as we choose to tell it and, in the end, the choices we make define who we are and that is what gives meaning to our lives.

At this time of my life, coherence seems to be important.  I made choices, things happened because of those choices and that led to my making other choices.  Seeing that causal chain reaction in some detail is what I mean when I say that I’m trying to assimilate my past. If I can put it all together, I feel like I have grasped what there is to “understand” of my life.  And I don’t mean understand in an intellectual sense.  I mean understand in a spiritual sense.  To be able to hold it all in my mind at once, not as a collection of concepts or ideas, but as a feeling, a contiguous, ever evolving, conscious path of awareness from where I was in the distant past to where I am now.  If I could see that, I think I would give meaning to my life.

So, for now, I walk in the woods and do my best to be aware of the essence of life, to be present in what is happening now.  To get in touch with what is most important about life, that which is happening right now.  To hear the wind in the trees, feel the cold breeze on my face, to see, really see, the life around me as it prepares for the depths of winter and to smell rotting leaves and decaying bogs.  And, of course, to enjoy my life with Waldo.

Waldo is a gift from the gods.  He provides me with the opportunity to revel in love, a kind of love that isn’t intense and frenzied, as sexual love can be, but rather one that is warm and cozy, like a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day.  He is at the center of my daily routine and a source of satisfaction at the end of every day.  He is with me nearly every hour of every day and that has afforded us the opportunity to bond in a way we would never have been able to if I were still working.  Waldo urges me to get out of my chair, enjoy nature and watch him enjoy being in nature.

Waldo helps me celebrate the flow of the life I have left.


Love this kooky dog!

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